"An obvious fact about negative feelings is often overlooked.
They are caused by us, not by exterior happenings.
An outside event presents the challenge, but we react to it.
So we must attend to the way we take things,
not to the things themselves."
-- Vernon Howard
[Classic post from 11-27-10]
Because it is so foreign with how I had been taught, it has been a real challenge for me to truly believe that I create my own reality based on what I choose to think, and the place that stands out still (although less each day now), is when someone says something that I don't want to hear or events that seem out of my control happen. In these situations, I have built up beliefs, and these comments or events then challenge those beliefs and I react. My reaction is typically defensive in nature. That's what I was taught--that you defend yourself when attacked; you shore up under external circumstances and you react quickly.
Other times, my reaction may be one of embarrassment. This happens when something comes up that I don't necessarily want to be known to the world. Again, these are beliefs that have evolved over time and have become quite strong.
A belief is just a thought we keep thinking, and I've recently learned how to change those beliefs. I do it by changing my thought about it and changing my reaction as a result. When beliefs are held so strongly, it may take some time to get the change made, but it is okay to just make progress. I don't need to change them overnight, but just a steady movement toward is working just fine. This way, I am fully understanding the change as it is being made.
I even sometimes have a bit of fun with it. For example, if someone says something that would have previously caused an angry reaction, I might laugh instead, or maybe pretend I haven't heard a word they've said. Just changing the reaction to a response is good, but not solving the issue. I need to fully understand what was causing my reaction before by understanding what thought brought it forth. There, I can deal with changing my thinking about it by telling a different story to myself about it and giving myself other ways to look at it so that the belief is effectively changed.
Here's the real deal: My reaction doesn't have anything to do with what other people think of me or what I do, or have done. It has to do with what I think about what other people think of me or what I do, or have done. It's not them. It's me. I don't change them, I change me. I don't get upset with them, I am upsetting myself. I am what I think, I respond how I think, I do what I think.
I Want To Change My Beliefs, And I Can Change Them. I Always Want To Choose. The Only Automatic Response I Would Like Would Be One Of Love.
Spread Some Joy Today--Think about your reactions to what people say or how you think they are thinking about you. See if you want to change that reaction to having no need to respond in that way. There is powerful joy in the freedom from reaction.